Sunday 10 March 2013

Chorizo with Spanish beans

My past few blog posts have been heavily dedicated to Italian cuisine. I thought it would be a nice change of pace if I brought you all on a culinary journey a little further west on the Mediterranean, to the festive and rustic flavours of Spain. Among Spain's many contributions to the world of cooking, lies chorizo. Chorizo is a Spanish pork sausage flavoured with paprika. Paprika, if you didn't know, is ground, dried bell peppers. Some varieties are sweet, but others include ground chili peppers, giving them an added hum of heat. Chorizo, as I know it, has a mild spiciness to it. If you live anywhere in North America, South America, Europe, or Australia and New Zealand you should easily be able to find chorizo. 

For this recipe, I must insist that you use fresh chorizo. In other words, chorizo that is raw, uncooked and not smoked or cured. Don't get me wrong, smoked and cured Spanish meats are a delight. They just don't work nearly as well in this application. You gotta have juicy sausages for this. I was in Barcelona a few years ago and I remember being in the Gothic Quarter and seeing orange trees throughout the area. To echo that, I added fresh orange zest at the end. 

You're either going to be the kind of person that thinks this looks really appetizing, or not very impressive. Whether the presentation appeals to your or not, I promise that the flavours are all there. It's rich, healthy, hearty, savoury, sweet, smoky and above all, delicious. There is paprika in the beans to create a marriage with the chorizo. The braised beans portion of the dish is completely vegan, so if meat isn't your thing, I recommend that you still make the beans and add whichever alternative you wish.

When I made this I used three cups of tomato sauce but it came out a bit saucier than I wanted it to be. So I reduced it in the recipe. You can use any tomato sauce you want. I had an arrabiata on hand, but you can use anything. Puréed tomatoes from a can would work very well. This recipe will serve 4.  


4 fresh chorizo sausages
1 Spanish onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 1/2 cups of tomato sauce
2 540 ml cans of white kidney or cannellini beans, drained and thoroughly rinsed
1 tbsp of paprika
1/2 tbsp of dried oregano
2 bay leaves
Small bunch of fresh parsley, chopped
Zest of one fresh orange
Cooking oil

In a saucepan, sautée the onion in a tablespoon or two of oil and a pinch of salt. Cook on medium high heat for five to seven minutes or until it starts to turn golden brown. 

Add the garlic to the onion and sautée for a minute. Add the paprika, dried oregano and fresh ground pepper (to taste) and stir well to combine.

Stir in the tomato sauce and bring to a simmer. 

Add the beans and stir. Turn the heat down to just above low and let the beans braise in that luscious, red sauce. Let them cook at that temperature until you're ready to serve with the chorizo, which will take half an hour or so. Give them a stir from time to time and let them perfume your kitchen.  Before you serve, remember to taste for seasonings.

For the chorizo, fill a skillet with at least an inch of water, a generous pinch of salt and the bay leaves. Bring to a simmer on medium high heat. Add the chorizo to the simmering water and cook for 15 minutes or until it is cooked throughout. In this photo they are completely submerged in water, but that's not necessary. As long as the water comes up at least an inch the chorizo will poach just fine. Either way, be sure to turn them every few minutes so they cook evenly.

When the chorizo is cooked, remove and set aside. You can either dump the water, dry the skillet completely and use it again (just be careful not to burn yourself) or just use another skillet for the next part. 

Add about 2 tablespoons of oil to a dry skillet over medium heat and add the chorizo. The chorizo is already cooked, this step is just to caramelize and crisp up the skin of the chorizo. They'll only take a couple of minutes a side. 

When the chorizo is evenly golden and gnarly, remove from the heat and place on paper towel. At this point they are screaming hot and all of the juice is going to be around the outside. You need to let them rest for five to ten minutes to allow the juices to redistribute before cutting. Otherwise all the juices will run out and away from your dish.


Once rested and cooled slightly, slice the chorizo into four pieces per sausage. Serve the chorizo over the braised beans. Sprinkle some fresh parsley and orange zest on top and you have yourself a Spanish inspired meal. The flavours in this dish run very deep. As I mentioned, this makes four servings. Or in my case, a fantastic dinner and 3 meals worth of leftovers. 

Give this beautiful, rustic dish a try. If you want to lighten it up, you could serve with a vibrant salad. If you want it a little heartier, you could eat this with warm, crusty bread. This recipe could be split into a dozen little tapas servings if you happen to be organizing a Spanish meal for a large group... just sayin'.

Once again, thanks for checking out the blog and for all the feedback and support. Come back soon.



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